The first manned orbiter of the moon was William A.  Anders, who died at the age of 90

Major inspired the modern environmental movement with the Apollo 8 “Genesis Flight” on Christmas Eve 1968, the first manned space mission to orbit the moon and take the color photograph “Earthrise.” William A. Anders, died that day. A small plane he was piloting alone on Friday dove into the water near Roche Harbor, Va., northwest of Seattle. He is 90 years old.

His son Greg confirmed his death.

Major Anders, along with Air Force Col. Frank Borman and Navy Capt. James A. Lovell Jr., was part of the first group of astronauts to leave the confines of Earth orbit. During their mission, they took photographs and motion pictures of the lunar surface in preparation for the Apollo 11 mission, the first humans to set foot on the moon, and they were the first astronauts to be sent aloft by a giant Saturn V rocket.

Beyond those monumental milestones, the mounting casualties of the Vietnam War, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Their work was seen as briefly refreshing the spirits of an America that had been stunned by the assassinations of the Kennedys and the tumultuous anti-war protests. Racial confusion.

On Christmas Eve, during 10 orbits of the moon, the three astronauts broadcast to millions around the world photographs of Earth rising above the lunar horizon, appearing like a blue marble amid the blackness of the sky. But only Major Anders, who oversaw their spacecraft’s electronic and communications systems, shot color film.

His photo shook the world. Called “Earthrise,” it was reissued on a 1969 postage stamp bearing the words “In the Beginning God…”, the inspiration for the first Earth Day in 1970, and it appeared on the cover of Life magazine’s 2003 book “100 Photographs That Changed the World. Major Anders Away.” Minutes before liftoff, the astronauts could hear the capture. Internal RegistrarThey express their awe at what they saw:

Anders: Oh my God! Look at the picture there. Here comes the earth. Wow, that’s beautiful.

Borman: [chuckle] Hey, don’t take it, it’s not planned.

Anders: [laughter] “Have you got a color picture, Jim? Give me that color roll quick, will you…

Lovell: “Oh man, that’s awesome.”

In an interview in 2015, decades later Forbes magazine, Major Anders said of Earthrise, “The scene points to the beauty of Earth and its fragility. It helped launch the environmental movement.

See also  A teenage girl who went missing 26 years ago has been found in a neighbor's room, just 200 yards from her home in Algeria.

But he said he was surprised by how much the public’s memory of the figures behind the photo had faded. “I find it interesting that the press and the public have forgotten about our history-making journey, and now the symbol of flight is the ‘Earthrise’ film,” he said. “Here we come to the moon to find Earth.”

At the end of their Christmas Eve telecast, the Apollo 8 astronauts read from the first chapter of the book of Genesis.

Major Anders First Reader: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. And the earth was void without form; Darkness was upon the face of the deep.”

William Allison Anders was born on October 17, 1933 in Hong Kong, where he lived with his mother, Muriel Adams Anders, while his father, Lieutenant Arthur Anders, a career naval officer, served as an officer on a gunboat. Panai was patrolling the Yangtze River in China.

After a stint in Annapolis, Md., the family returned to China, where his father was once again appointed executive officer, or second in command, aboard the Panay. But after the Japanese attack on Beijing in July 1937, sparking the start of the Sino-Japanese War, Bill and his mother fled to the Philippines.

In December, Panay was engaged in evacuating Americans from China when Japanese planes bombed the boat.

Its captain was seriously wounded, and the wounded Lt. Anders nevertheless took command and ordered the boat’s machine gunners to open fire on the Japanese planes. He also oversaw the evacuation of the boat before it sank, for which he received the Navy Cross, the service’s highest award for gallantry after the medal.

See also  Japan's H2-A rocket heads for the moon to attempt a landing

The episode, known as the Panay Incident, heightened tensions between the United States and Japan, which four years later would attack Pearl Harbor and draw the United States into World War II.

Bill Anders returned to the United States, attended Grossmont High School in San Diego County, California, and was fascinated by stories of world-famous explorations. Following in the footsteps of his father, he entered the Naval Academy and graduated in 1955, planning to become a pilot. He received a commission in the Air Force, which was more amenable to advances in aeronautical science than the Navy.

He earned his pilot’s wings in 1956 and served as a fighter pilot with interceptor forces in California and Iceland tracking Soviet heavy bombers challenging America’s air defense capabilities. In 1962, he earned a master’s degree in nuclear engineering from the U.S. Air Force Institute of Technology at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio. A year later, he joined NASA as a third-class astronaut, though he had no experience as a test pilot, a traditional path to flying for the agency.

While at NASA, Major Anders became an expert on space radiation, the effects of which were considered a hazard to future astronauts. He also trained on a module that would be used to carry astronauts from a lunar orbiting capsule to the lunar surface, the future lunar lander.

Apollo 8 was designed to orbit the Earth with the Major Anders flight-test module. But its development was delayed, so the mission was reprogrammed as Lunar Orbiter, a premature and risky attempt to beat the Russians in orbiting the lunar surface without a module. The mission was a huge success and its astronauts were applauded in parades in New York, Chicago and Washington and appeared in a joint session of Congress.

See also  Donald Trump Surrenders in Atlanta, Shot in the Mug

In 1969, Major Anders retired from NASA and the Air Force after serving as executive secretary of the National Aeronautics and Space Council, an advisory arm of the president.

He was later a member of the Atomic Energy Commission, the first chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and ambassador to Norway. After leaving government service, he held executive positions at General Electric and Dextron and was president and CEO of General Dynamics, a major defense contractor.

He retired from the Air Force Reserves as a Major General in 1988.

He is survived by his wife, Valerie (Hart) Anders; his sons Alan, Glenn, Greg and Eric; and his daughters, Gayle and Diana.

Major Anders lived in Washington State, where he and his wife Established an aviation museum Inside 1996.

Although 12 Americans walked on the moon, among them Mr. No Anders, Apollo 8 was his only space mission. But he never worried about this. From his vantage point in orbit, the lunar landscape was uninteresting in contrast to the beauty of the home he captured in “Earthrise.”

“I use the unpoetic description ‘dirty beach,'” he said of the moon’s harsh surface, “and you can imagine how the poets give me hell.”

Orlando Mayorquin Contributed report and Susan C. the beach Research contributed.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *